What is the difference between AMR devices and smart meters?

Are you confused by different energy meters? Get up-to-speed on their differences with this helpful guide.

21 September 2015

Government guidelines implemented over recent years now demand that all domestic buildings and small business premises must be offered the chance to receive a smart meter by 2020. This is part of an ongoing strategy to ensure that energy usage across domestic and business properties can be more accurately monitored.

Moving from traditional meters to smart meters could provide domestic users and SMEs the opportunity to better control their energy usage. Smart meters differ from traditional meters by measuring your energy usage and using a secure, wireless network to send meter readings to your energy supplier each month. This means SMEs can say goodbye to estimated bills and look forward to invoices that are based on their actual energy usage.  

This is part of a programme dedicated to cutting energy wastage and the subsequent environmental impact, a major benefit alongside the potential for great savings.

Some businesses in the UK, particularly those based in large premises, will already be using a similar technology – automated meter reading (AMR) devices. This technology has helped businesses throughout the UK closely monitor their energy usage and control costs.

Despite certain similarities, AMR devices and smart meters perform differently, utilise distinct technologies and offer their own benefits. So, to remove any confusion surrounding the two technologies, here we explain the difference between AMR devices and smart meters.

woman using smart meter reading

Automated meter reading (AMR) devices

There are three different forms of AMR devices. These are:

  • Advanced meters - a remote reading device, connected to the meter
  • Data loggers – remote reading equipment provided by transporters on larger sites
  • Gas embedded meters - where the remote reading device is integral to the meter

All of these different AMR devices create a remote communication channel between a business and its energy supplier. 

Consumption (usage) information can be transmitted from an AMR device directly to the energy supplier, meaning manual meter readings are generally no longer required. The collection of this data ensures more accurate bills, and gives customers the option to analyse their energy usage data. In most cases, this data is available from the energy supplier on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, giving customers the option to monitor their consumption and develop new ways to operate more efficiently.

Businesses will, therefore, only pay for the energy they use each month because AMR devices provide an accurate meter reading; estimated bills become a thing of the past and it’s much easier to forecast usage.

Smart meters

Smart meters are being rolled out across the domestic and smaller non-domestic market over the next few years. Unlike AMR, the operation of smart meters is through a centralised data communication company. These meters are produced to an industry standard referred to as the Smart Metering Equipment Technical Standard (SMETs).

small business owner using smart energy

Does my business need a smart meter?

By 2020, all domestic properties and SME business premises will be offered the opportunity to have a smart meter installed. However, it is entirely at the discretion of the user whether or not they take up this offer.

AMR devices will continue to be used in larger non-domestic businesses but the option to install either an AMR device or smart meter at smaller non-domestic business premises will be phased out from 21 May 2018, after which only smart meters can be installed.

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Smart meter and AMR devices roll-out – the current timeline

Until May 2018 - suppliers can continue to install AMR devices at smaller non-domestic sites  

After May 2018 - only SMETS-compliant smart meters are allowed to be installed at smaller non-domestic sites, except in the following cases:

  • Installation is not feasible due to specific limitations of the site, such as lack of mobile data signal
  • The installation is being carried out under a contractual agreement that pre-dates May 2018

energy smart business serving customers

Requesting a smart meter or AMR device

If your business is interested in having a smart meter installed, you can opt in by completeing a short form, here. 

At Gazprom Energy, we offer all gas and electricity customers automated meter reading (AMR) as part of our standard offer so you can be sure we’ll bill you for your actual consumption each month and you can choose to access your meter reading data.

For the latest news about changes in the energy industry, please check out the rest of the Gazprom Energy blog for more of the latest SME news and features. Or, to find out about our range of business energy products for small businesses, visit our homepage or call 0161 837 3395.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

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